The earliest literature of Denmark is preserved in the runic carvings on nearly 275 stone monuments erected to the Vikings c.850–1050. A number of these are written in alliterative verse. The Danish legends of the heroic period were preserved in the work of Saxo Grammaticus (fl. 12th cent.). With Christianity came the epic poetry of the scholastics, the legends of saints, and theological works written in Latin. The Danish folk song appeared in the 12th cent., stimulated by customs of knighthood and chivalry. Danish literature of the later Middle Ages, primarily in Latin, was formal and ecclesiastical; it included annals, chronicles, legends, and a few poems.
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